Car workers at Opel and its sister company Vauxhall are waiting to find out if their jobs are safe after General Motors announced the sale of the two motor manufacturers to a Canadian car parts company.
The move was welcomed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel who said: “I’m very happy about this decision… which is along the lines of what the government had hoped for and is also along the lines of what the employees of Opel had hoped for.” The buyers, Magna, have committed to keeping all the German plants running but British unions have voiced concern about the future for Vauxhall’s 5,500 UK workers. In all 10,000 European jobs will have to be shed. General Motors, which sought bankruptcy protection in the US in June, chose Magna, backed by a Russian bank, as the best bet to salvage the marques. “We’re confident that tha Magna – Sberbank solution represents the best solution to provide for a sustainable future for the Opel and Vauxhall brands,” said John Smith, GM’s negotiator for Opel. Apart from the prospect of job losses in the UK, Magna’s proposals outline the option of moving some production from Zaragosa in Spain back to Germany and winding down production at a Belgian plant.